Alai Minar

New Delhi, India

Alai Minar


The iron pillar of Delhi is a structure 23 feet 8 inches (7.2 metres) high with 16 inches (40.64 cm) diameter that was constructed by Chandragupta II (reigned c. 375–415 CE), and now stands in the Qutb complex at Mehrauli in Delhi, India. It is famous for the rust-resistant composition of the metals used in its construction. The pillar weighs over three tonnes (6,614 lb) and is thought to have been erected elsewhere, perhaps outside the Udayagiri Caves, and moved to its present location by Anangpal Tomar in 11th century.

The height of the pillar, from the top to the bottom of its base, is 7.21 m (23 ft 8 in), 1.12 m (3 ft 8 in) of which is below ground. Its bell pattern capital is 306 mm (12 in). It is estimated to weigh more than three tonnes (6,614 lb). The pillar has attracted the attention of archaeologists and materials scientists because of its high resistance to corrosion and has been called a "testimony to the high level of skill achieved by the ancient Indian iron smiths in the extraction and processing of iron". The corrosion resistance results from an even layer of crystalline iron(III) hydrogen phosphate hydrate forming on the high-phosphorus-content iron, which serves to protect it from the effects of the Delhi climate.

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